Thursday, May 12, 2016

through the night

The following numbers are estimates based on research and information gathered by reputable organizations all over the world.  Most experts would agree that these numbers are low.  Due to widespread stigma and taboo about mental illness and suicide, many people have not and do not disclose their own experiences of mental illness and/or attribute deaths of loved ones to suicide.  With that said, we've got to start somewhere, and this data is tough enough to stomach as is.

Below the video is the "script" I wrote to accompany videos and photos from last year's Out of the Darkness Overnight walk in Dallas, TX.  The quality of the footage is not awesome, but I wanted to offer a glimpse into what the walk is like.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The importance of suicide prevention.

I have been reminded by a few people lately that there hasn't been any activity on my blog for quite some time, and that I haven't posted much in relation to this year's Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk.  Last night I had thought about the value of suicide prevention in a different way than I have in the past, so I want to share it here.  I wrote this in the middle of the night with pretty raw emotions going, so it reads like that... whatever that means...?

Friday, January 8, 2016

"a whispering, wily villain"

"This is a live-in demon. A whispering, wily villain that braids your thoughts with her desires, making you forget what’s yours and what’s hers. It’s a dark and loveless companionship, and you know the only way to live is to leave, and the leaving will shatter the life you knew. It’s when someone wants you hurt and it's when someone wants you dead. And that someone is you."

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

#Justice4Jamar - youth leaders

Today as I sat outside the 4th precinct I felt discouraged.  Last night's snow collapsed tents.  Firewood is dwindling while temperatures are dropping.  While delicious hot food is still plentiful, the hot drinks aren't as much.  People are tired... from the sleep depravation, the need to constantly stay alert to attacks on the #4thPrecinctShutdown occupation, from hearing all that's being said in mainstream media and knowing it tends to paint a very one-sided picture, from crying and singing and laughing and shouting and silence, from the years and decades and centuries that have led up to this, from the developments and reality of other similar situations (i.e. Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald) where white police are murdering black people... and while progress has been made, it isn't happening to the extent nor at the rate that is needed.  This all is still just so huge- systemic racial oppression is a hard beast to slay.  

And then a school bus slows down as it drives by the barricade and I hear all these tiny little voices yelling "BLACK LIVES MATTER!!!!" out the windows, and we all raise our fists in the air in solidarity with the kids... and my heart melts and tears form and I am reminded that no matter how discouraged, no matter how tired, no matter how hopeless it seems... this may be the most meaningful thing I have ever been a part of in my 30+ of life.  What we are doing here, the fight we are a part of with countless who have gone before and are fighting now- including Rosa Parks who refused to get up 60 years ago yesterday- it is a REALLY big deal.  It matters, a lot.  And people are putting their lives on the line in a whole myriad of ways in Minneapolis to change the course of history.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

#Justice4Jamar - appalling silence

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.          
          – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

#Justice4Jamar - it's personal

One of the things that has been circulating through my head throughout this week is that when fighting for "a cause" it is often easy to forget that we are talking about people's lives.  This is WAY bigger than any one person.  AND, it is composed of a whole bunch of one-person's.  And there is a reason that people are fighting for what they are fighting for, and it often has a very personal component.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

#Justice4Jamar - turn the tables

" unjust law is a code that the majority inflicts on the minority that is not binding on itself."
           Martin Luther King, Jr. (from "Love, Law, and Civil Disobedience")

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

#Justice4Jamar - loyalty and power

I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
          -Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

game-changer people

September 28th, 2013 started with a phone call almost exactly at 6:00am, if I remember correctly.  I didn't answer it the first time- half because I was in a daze, half because I knew the words that would follow as soon as I said, "hey..."  I remember where I was (which is a big deal because I was homeless that year so I often didn't stay in the same place 2 nights in a row)... I remember the simultaneous feelings of an exhale of relief and getting the wind punched right out of my gut.  I remember the tears- the same ones that streak my face now... I remember the questions, the prayers, the planning... the deep, deep pain of loss- for myself, for one of my best friends, for my little buddy, for a family that is as family to me as anyone, for friends I hardly knew...

There are certain people, and I think even more uniquely, certain relationships, that are "game-changers."  It's nearly impossible to explain why the connection you share impacts you so profoundly, but the path of your life looks significantly different than it did before they stepped in.  I can name huge ways that countless people have changed my life- like I've said over and over again, my life is filled with the most amazing people.  And then there are these people that seem to be sent into my journey JUST to point me in a different direction, or give me an energy boost to make it to the next point... I don't know how to explain it, but there are just these people...